After having children, my body's not sure what to think of me. As a result of the new lumps, bumps, and layers that weren't part of my pre-baby bod, I'm not entirely confident every hour of every day. I try, but I'm only human. However, with all the "adorable" things my kids have said about my stretch marks, how can I not love my perceived imperfections? They don't see flaws so much as they see their mom. That's all I am to them. Not lumps, or bumps, or layers. Just mom.
I wasn't always kind or accepting of my body pre-kids, either. Looking back on those insecure pre-baby times now, I'm angry with myself for not seeing the beauty reflected back at me when I looked at a mirror each day, poking and prodding at myself as I silently wished this or that would change. I've had stretch marks from weight fluctuations since childhood, but I was only embarrassed by them after pregnancy, when the color of my stripes deepened and they became more prevalent.
It's been years since I had my youngest, and I still find myself dressing to conceal instead of dressing to highlight my confidence. It's only when my kids adoringly point out things like my cellulite (calling it "crinkly") and my "flabby" underarms, do I take a step back to look at my body from a different perspective. Here are some adorable (albeit, frank) things my kids have said about my stretch marks. There's honestly nothing like seeing yourself through the eyes of your children.
"Who Drew On You?"
One of the earliest comments (and the most adorably innocent) comes from my 5 year old. He only pointed it out to remind me of the times I told him he couldn't draw on himself and, in seeing my stretch marks, he was envious. I don't blame him.
"Why Do They Look Like Worms?"
Stretch marks come in a variety of sizes, colors, and curvatures. The ones on my arms are "squiggly" and, to my son, worm-like. I'd never thought of them in this way before, and now that's all I think of when I look at them (and also why I loathe sleeveless tops).
"You Should Wash Those Off"
When my son threw this suggestion in my direction, my response was, "Oh, honey, I've tried." He couldn't understand why they wouldn't come off if I "used soap" and "scrubbed really hard." If only everyone could be this adorable. Also, if only stretch marks could wash off.
"Let Me Get You A BAND-AID"
Whenever anything happens, my kids rush to the bathroom cabinet for a BAND-AID, so naturally, when they saw my stretch marks in plain sight, they assumed slapping one of those bad boys on would heal my wounds. I'm not sure if I'm proud they're so thoughtful, or offended they hope the stretch marks disappear. We'll go with proud.
"Why Don't I Have Any?"
My son really is so cute with his questions sometimes, it's hard to give an accurate answer. Though he's seen my stretch marks many times now, every time is a surprise. He often wonders where his are, scouring his little body for any sign of them. If mom has them, they must be awesome, right?
"If I Kiss Them, They'll Get Better"
Again with thinking stretch marks hurt, or are something to be healed, my son — who's not always obviously compassionate, but more low-key — offers to give a peck on my arms where the little "worms" haven't healed. I haven't told him they're not going away yet because, kisses!
"You Must Be The Strongest Mom In The World"
My daughter's the one who's referred to my underarm as "flabby," so it caught me by surprise when, after explaining the stretch marks happened after gaining and losing weight, then building muscle, she commented on how strong I must be. To which I flexed, agreed, and offered to lift something heavy (obviously). Why ruin such a sweet moment?